Performers’ Insights into this is not natural [transfiguration]

Does the slow body movement result in slower heart rates, slower rates of blinking, and/or other retardations of the biomechanical infrastructure? If so, how do changes in those parameters of performance affect one’s perception, organization and production of sonic events?



I did pay some attention to my heart rate, but I don’t remember it slowing down particularly. It takes quite a lot of energy to move in slow motion and holding the double-bass required additional energy and concentration. I’m not aware of a slower rate of blinking – I’m not sure I blinked much in any of the iterations.


Sonically, I had an aim: to reproduce in slow motion the sustained sound I had produced in ‘real’ time but I was too unfamiliar with the instrument to know what I needed to do to achieve that. The effect was something like a film jumping between frames rather than being played at the correct speed. The slow motion flow of my arm and bow met the resistance of the strings. In order to increase the flow I had to reduce the connection with the strings, but if I did that too much I made too little sound. If it was only reproducing the movement there would have been no problem, but because I was trying to get the intensity of my earlier sound in slow motion there was an ongoing negotiation between flow and resistance that resulted in some choppy sounds – and some near inaudible ones.


I think this ties in with my earlier comment that slow motion has the effect of dilating one’s experience of time and space, so when producing sonic events there is a nice attunement to the reverberation of sound – the piano pedal was a bit of a gift here as it enabled me to (literally) sit in the sound as it continued to ripple through the time/space dimension.


I could not say for sure, but at times I wonder if the opposite is true. In order to realise these slow movements there are times when I feel like I am under more rather than less, mental and physical stress. We would need to set up some biomedical testing to verify this.

Slowing down our actions not only extends the duration of each “sonic event”, it also seems to affect the way we play our instruments in terms of technique (how we make contact with, attack, sustain, break contact with our instruments). This might be different in the case of more experienced players. But to some degree the slowing of action will unavoidably affect the types of sound that we produce (this may be most apparent in the double bass as it relies on friction to produce its sound).